Social Gaming News Roundup: Lots of Zynga, Grasshopper Manufacture, Big Talk from EA and More

Showtime Pumping DEXTER Facebook Game With Sweepstakes
Showtime is promoting its new DEXTER Facebook game, Dexter Slice of Life, with a pre-launch sweepstakes that includes weekly prizes of $500 and a grand prize of an all expenses paid trip to Miami.  As we reported earlier, Dexter Slice of Life is being developed by Ecko Code with gameplay directly tied to the plot of the show’s sixth season, and fans of the show can play out the events of each episode the day after it airs. The season premiere of DEXTER is October 2nd, and Dexter Slice of Life launches on Monday, October 3rd.

Adobe Hoping Flash 11 Will Fend off HTML 5
Adobe revealed Flash 11 and the Flash-based AIR 3 to the world this week, placing a lot of emphasis on how the new software can be used by game developers, calling Flash 11 and AIR 3 the “game console for the web.” The new tools have been designed to be easier to install, more powerful and compatible with more systems, working with 64-bit on Windows, Mac and Linux. The move comes at a time when Adobe is looking up to shore up Flash as a development platform in the face of growing competition from HTML 5, the still-evolving development platform championed first by Apple, and now Microsoft, who are building their Windows 8 operating system to use HTML 5, blocking Flash entirely.

Has Facebook Added $15 Billion to the Economy?
A study conducted by the University of Maryland claims that Facebook apps have created an entire new segment of the high-tech industry, adding at least 182,000 jobs in the US alone. According to the findings, the so called “app economy” created by Facebook has lead to  53,000 new jobs specifically in companies that develop applications for the social network, and that has lead to job creation in connected sectors, which has pumped an additional $12.19 billion in wages and benefits into the U.S. economy.  While the claim seems to be good news, tech blog Gigaom is raising doubts and criticizing the report for using too many estimates and not enough hard data. For those interested in the numbers, and the methods used to obtain them, the full report can be found here.

American Express Gets into the Virtual Goods Market
American Express is following in the footsteps of rival Visa with the purchase of virtual currency company Sometrics. The deal, worth $30 million, will expand Amex’s Serve digital payments platform, giving it access to Sometrics’ existing customer base. Before the acquisition, Sometrics’ served 250 million customers. In February, Visa bought game monetization service Playspan for $190 million. According our Inside Virtual Goods Report, the virtual goods market will be worth approximately $1.2 billion in 2011.

Zynga Goes on Defensive Domain Buying Spree
While Zynga was announcing Mafia Wars 2, they were going to great lengths to protect that new IP.  Zynga purchased over 75 web addresses on September 20th, according to information uncovered by Fusible. The addresses cover almost every possible iteration of the Mafia Wars name, from insulting – mafiawars2sucks.com, to fawning – ilovemafiawars2.com, to purposely mistyped – wwwmafiawars2.com. While none of the domains seem to go anywhere yet, the complete list can be found here.

Tagged Acquires Startup WeGame to Strengthen Gaming Ties
Social networking service Tagged, which bills itself as the social network for meeting new people, has acquired social gaming service WeGame. While the announcement was short on specifics, the two services essentially serve the same purpose. Tagged allows users to make friends by browsing user profiles, playing games and sharing gifts, and adding WeGame to the mix allows Tagged to offer its user base more gaming focused social discovery tools and more monetization options. In the last year, Tagged has launched a new mobile website and beefed up its in-house game development.